Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall Tree Pipe Cleaner Sculpture Art Activity

There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are changing colors and it’s finally sweater weather! Its fall and I’m ready to make some autumn art. As the trees change from glossy green to brilliant yellows, oranges and reds, take the kids outside for some science time and then create a fall sculpture.

Fall trees

Before you start the art-making process, take a nature walk! As your child takes a look around, ask her:

·        What colors can you find in the trees?

·        Can you tell me what color the leaves used to be in the summer?

·        Why do you think the leaves are changing colors?

Collect a few leaves to take inside for inspiration or set up shop outdoors and let your little artist sculpt sitting in the grass or at a picnic table.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Brown pipe cleaners

·        Green, red and yellow modeling clay

·        A piece of card stock paper or cardboard

·        Red, yellow and orange tissue paper

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Fold two or three pipe cleaners in half.

2.     Wrap the pipe cleaners around each other. Your child can create a trunk and branches.

Kids' crafts
3.     Create a grassy base for the sculpture. Have your child roll a piece of green clay into a ball. She can smoosh it down onto the paper or board, creating a mound. Press the clay into the paper, smoothing it out around the edges to make it stick. Push the pipe cleaner trunk into the clay.

Tree art

 4.     Pull apart dime-sized pieces of red and yellow clay. Press and blend the clay   
           onto the green mound, creating autumn leaves.

Clay Sculpture

6.     Tear pieces of tissue paper. Wrap the pipe cleaner branches around the tissue paper to make leaves.
Autumn Sculpture

Are you looking or more fall themed projects?


Tissue Paper Leaf Prints

Tissue Print
Paint Splatter Leaves
Autumn Leaf

Fall Leaf Mobile

Leaf Sculpture
Fall Shaving Cream Trees

Fall Art
Leaf Print Trees

Fall Trees

For even more ideas, follow my Pinterest board!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Fall Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

S'mores Cupcakes: Super Simple Baking

I am so not a baker. But, I love to eat the sweets! Two of my favorites? Cupcakes and s’mores. Although I’ll eat just about any flavor of each, I like to go the non-traditional route. If you don’t believe me, check out my Monet Cupcakes or my Halloween Monster S’mores. So, I thought, “Why not combine the two?” And, I did! Into an ooey, gooey marshmallow, chocolate, graham creation that probably just added an inch or two to my hips.

Dessert Baking
Yes, I did say that I’m not a baker. When it comes to arts and crafts, I’m pretty confident. When it comes to cooking, I’m not. The other day I was watching Top Chef. My family always asks me why I watch Top Chef – considering that I don’t cook. Probably or the same reason that our middle-aged husbands watch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show: Even if what’s on TV isn’t my reality, it sure is nice to look at. One of the chefs compared her cooking to artistry. And, I’m completely on board with that assessment. Cooking is an art. When it comes to baking, my soul is an artist while my hands are kind of a mess.

There are the occasional PTA bake sales, school parties and family picnics that require some sort of cake-y type creation. While I don’t measure up to the uber-amazing bakers at my son’s school, I think it’s important to at least try. Seriously, my son’s friend’s mom makes this amazingly moist rich cookie cake. I tried it and the result resembled that random cookie that your kid leaves in his backpack all school year long. With that in mind, I am not a from-scratch kind of girl. This recipe uses boxed mix and frosting. If you want to use your favorite batter and/or frosting recipe, go ahead. If you have one that you’ve created, feel free to share the link in the comments section.

Even though you can make this recipe yourself, why not get the kids in on the action? Measuring is a great way to help your child use math, mixing builds motor skills and the entire process is a science experiment in the changes that matter goes through. That said, never allow your child to use the oven or get near a heat source.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Chocolate cake mix

·        Chocolate and white vanilla frosting

·        Marshmallow cream/fluff

·        Mini marshmallows

·        Graham crackers

·        Plastic zipper sandwich bag

·        Cupcake tin and liners

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Mix up your batter.

Mix batter
2.     Pour the batter into the lined cupcake tins. Bake it according to the mix’s directions (or your own recipe).

3.     Take the cupcakes out of the oven. Let them cool completely.

4.     Cut out a small hole (go about 1-inch down) in the center top of the cupcakes.

5.     Fill the holes with vanilla frosting.

Cream center
Vanilla cream
6.     Top the cupcakes with a layer of vanilla frosting.

Cake Art
7.     Blend in the chocolate frosting.

Coco Vanilla
8.     Place two or three graham crackers into a plastic zipper bag. Get your frustration out and bang, squish and pound the bag to crush the crackers.

Cake Topping
9.     Spoon the marshmallow crème into a bowl. Add mini marshmallows and half of the graham cracker crumbs. Mix it all up!

cupcake top
10.   Use your hands (or have your child use hers) to add the mixture to the top of the cupcakes. Using a spoon won’t work well. The mix is too sticky and may not come off onto the cupcakes.

11.   Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker crumbs on top.

Marshmallow chocolate
You can adjust the s’mores cupcake recipe to make slight variations. I made a few with plain vanilla frosting and mini marshmallows (because of the chocolate cake, you still get the s’mores effect) and a few without the marshmallow fluff.
Family Baking

Are you looking for more cupcake recipes? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas galore!
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY Arts and Crafts Organizer for Kids

I have an art bin in my basement. I would love to say that it’s meticulously organized but in reality it’s an old laundry basket that I toss everything artsy into. I know that I should keep the markers out of the oil pastel bag and that the paint brushes shouldn’t just rest on some old cardboard. But honestly, I can’t stand spending the cash on those cute (but, very pricey) organizers. So, I’ll occasional buy the cheap-o versions. While they do offer some relief from the nest of brushes and crayons that I‘ve accumulated, they don’t look very nice.

Art Craft
To solve my organizational dilemma of how to keep the crafting materials neat without going over-budget, we made our own brush/pencil/marker/craft stock holder box. All it really took was an old tissue box and some tape! This is so super-simple to make and your child can dress it up however she wants. She can make a rainbow pattern, her own initials, shapes or the letter “A” for art. If you’re reading that last line and thinking, “Wow! She might also learn a lesson or two!” you’re right. If you’re working on learning her first letter, have her add that to the design. If math is on the agenda, play with patterns, shapes or talk about fractions (divide the sides into fourths using different colors). When she’s done with her project, fill it with art tools and set it on a table or desk. It is ready for use – and, it looks pretty too!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Reuse Art
·        A tall tissue box—You can use a flat one for other arts and crafts items such as scrap collage paper or crayons.

·        Duct tape – Choose the colorful kind. You can use as many colors as your child wants. If you really want to get fancy, try a patterned version (I’ve even seen mac and cheese duct tape).

·        Scissors

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Start at the top of the box. Peel off a piece of tape that is slightly longer than the box top. Press the tape onto the top. Remind your child to avoid the opening. If she covers some of it, you can always cut away the extra later.

Kids' crafts

2.     Continue peeling tape until your child covers the entire box top.

Kids' Art

3.     Move down to the sides. Peel and stick the tape on all four sides of the box.

Carboard box

Pattern Art

DIY crafts
4.     Add a design. Make a pattern by cutting thinner or smaller pieces of tape. Your child can add lines, make shapes or create letters.

Alphabet crafts

Craft project
Are you looking for more creative crafts? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas galore!
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kids' Halloween Wreath Craft

It used to be a pizza box, and now it’s a Halloween wreath! I’m all for decorating on the cheap. That said, I don’t want to wait until October 30 to buy whatever leftover décor is 75 % off at the craft store. So, instead of patiently awaiting a sale, I reused one of the many empty pizza boxes that are slowly piling up in my garage (somehow my 13-year-old always seems to miss taking those out on garbage night).

Holiday craft
This holiday wreath is super-easy to make. As a bonus, it adds in a few other lessons for your child to learn:

·        Math- Shape and pattern. The circle shape and ribbon pattern that she’ll make can build budding mathematics skills.

·        Colors – Name the colors of ribbon as your child works.

·        Sensory exploration – Use different textures of ribbon. I choose a sheer, gauze type of ribbon along with silky versions. Pick a few different types that your child likes, and encourage her to feel the differences.

·        Environment – Discuss why you are reusing cardboard. Explain that instead of tossing it in the trash; you can transform it into something new.

Ribbon wreath
Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Reused cardboard – I used a pizza box lid, but you can use the side of any other type of box.

cardboard reuse
·        A marker

·        Scissors

·        Clear drying school glue

·        Thick wire-edged ribbon – The wire on the edges will help the ribbon hold its shape and make it easy to ‘poof’ up.

·        Thin ribbon in Halloween colors – orange, black, green

·        Model magic

·        Googley eyes

·        Cotton balls

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Draw a circle onto the cardboard with a marker. Make it a double or bubble circle and have your child draw a smaller version in the middle.

2.     Cut the circle out. Cutting through thick cardboard may be a challenge for little fingers. Although I usually advocate being hands-off when it comes to kids’ art activities, this time you will want to take over. You will have a slim donut shape when you’re done cutting.

Kids' art
3.     Wrap the thick wire-edged ribbon around the circle. Glue the ends down on the back.

4.     Create a pattern with the ribbon. Cut strands of the thin ribbon. Have your child weave it around the wreath, creating colorful patterns.

Wreath pattern

Craft pattern
5.     Tie the ends of the ribbons at the bottom of the wreath. This is a prime opportunity to work on shoe tying.

6.     Pull cotton balls apart to make spider webs. Wrap the strands around the wreath.

Cotton balls
7.     Roll the Model Magic into balls to make eyes. Your child can use her palms to make mini spheres.

8.     Press googley eyes into the Model Magic.

Monster art
9.     Glue the eyes onto the wreath. Move the ribbon aside so that the glue is on the cardboard. The Model Magic is too heavy to stick onto the ribbon without falling off.

Kids' crafts
10. Hang your child’s spooky Halloween craft!

Wreath art

Are you looking for more fall activities? Follow my Pinterest board for awesome autumn ideas!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Glow In the Dark Paint Projects for Kids

I’m a fan of glow in the dark paint. I’ve made my own using tonic water, as well as glowing ice paint. Under a black light tonic water glows -- making it a perfect art and science combo project. This time I decided to try the store-bought kind. I thought that I would prefer the DIY kind, so I tried a few different projects for a comparison.

Halloween art
Before your little artist gets glowing, here are a few things to consider:

·        Is it non-toxic? There are tons of glow paints available. Some are meant for adult crafters. If the label doesn’t say that it’s non-toxic, it isn’t graded as acceptable for your child’s age and it doesn’t have the ACMI (Art and Creative Materials Institute) certification seal of approval on it, don’ allow your child to use it. The first glow in the dark paint that I stumbled upon at the craft store was a spray-on type. This was completely not safe for a young child to use, so I kept looking until I found a liquid with the ACMI seal.

·        Many of these products require exposure to UV light prior to glowing. After your child paints, you’ll need to place her artwork in the sun for about five minutes.

·        You can use a black light, but you don’t have to. Unlike tonic water, specially formulated glowing paints don’t require a special light bulb to show up. I tried a black light and found that the glow was more noticeable, and it slightly changed the color.

·        Your child can mix the glow paint with other materials such as glitter, shaving cream or glue.

Kids' Art
So, what did I make with this paint? With Halloween coming up, I opted for a few spooky art activities.

Glowing Ghosts

Here’s What You Need:

·        Model Magic

·        Glow paint

·        A paintbrush

·        Glitter

·        Googley eyes

·        Construction paper

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Roll the Model Magic into a ball.

2.     Push the modeling compound flat and have your child shape it into a flowing ghost.

3.     Mix glitter with the glow paint.

Glow paint
4.     Paint the mixture over the ghost.

5.     Press googley eyes onto the ghost!

Halloween craftsGhost art

Another option is to make a monster. Have your child make a shape with the Model Magic and press a handful of googley eyes onto it!
Kids' crafts

Shaving Cream Ghost

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Glow paint

·        A paintbrush

·        Construction paper

·        Googley eyes

·        Shaving cream

·        Wax paper

·        Clear drying school glue

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Spray a pile of shaving cream onto a piece of wax paper.

2.     Squeeze the paint into the shaving cream.

3.     Blend the mixture with a paintbrush.

Sensory art
4.     Paint the shaving cream onto the paper in the shape of a ghost.

5.     Glue on the eyes.

Ghost art

Glow Texture Painting

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Glow paint

·        A paintbrush

·        Construction paper

·        Craft sand or glitter

·        Clear drying school glue

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Paint a picture or a word onto the paper (I used “Boo” or Halloween).

2.     Draw a pattern or lines onto the letters with glue. Make sure that your child doesn’t completely cover the paint with the glue. If she does, she won’t see the glowing effect.

3.     Sprinkle craft sand or glitter over the glue. Shake off the excess.

Kids' crafts
Sand Art
Are you looking for more creative crafts? Follow my Pinterest board for artsy ideas!

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